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Senator Rand Paul says he may sue the government over surveillance program

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Posted at 3:14 PM, Jun 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-09 15:43:06-04

(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, said Sunday he’s looking into suing the federal government in the wake of what has been a tumultuous week for the Obama administration and National Security Agency.

“I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I’m going to be asking the Internet providers and all of the phone companies; ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit,” Paul said on FOX News Sunday.

“If we get 10 million Americans saying, ‘We don’t want our phone records looked at’ then maybe someone will wake up and things will change in Washington.”

Members of congress say gov’t has been collecting phone records for years

The controversy began this week after multiple published reports said the NSA has been mining the phone and Internet records of both U.S. citizens and people around the world in a quest to prevent terrorist attacks.

President Obama addressed the issue Friday, saying the information gathered is extremely broad and that the government isn’t monitoring the content of the data or people’s names unless they have probable cause and a warrant.

But Paul said this data collection is by no means a modest invasion of privacy and in fact may even weaken America’s counterterrorism operations.

“We are looking through so much data that I think it makes our fight against terrorism worse,” Paul said.

In the end, Paul — known as a strong proponent of civil liberties — said this intelligence-gathering strategy is simply a step too far.

“I think the American people are with me and I think if you talk to young people who use computers on a daily basis, they are absolutely with me,” Paul said.